Authors' Spotlight

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR PATRICE SHAVONE BROWN | AUTHOR INTERVIEW

It is my pleasure to host author, established mental health counselor and anger management specialist Patrice Shavone Brown on an interview session on my blog today. Her book Surviving the Mental Health Jungle is available for purchase now.

What made you pen down Surviving the Mental Health Jungle?

Mental Health is always a change good or bad. To be counselor or simply work in the field is a stressful. You have to be able to work under stress or be able to problem solve. So for me thinking about the stress and balance of the field. To me a good metaphor was a jungle. My meaning is you never know what you going to get.

Will it help people who have not been diagnosed yet?

The book is actually for people looking to become a counselor. It is more about introduction to field.

Will it help people who are already in therapy?

No, my other book “A Fat Girl’s Confidence, Beating depression and building self esteem” is a book that helps with depression.

What according to you is the first step to heal your mental health?

Acknowledge that there is a issue. It is important to realize that there is something wrong or different about you.

How is mental health and personality related?

Behaviors have driven by your personality. Stress can alter your personality as well. Anything outside of your normal personality. Could be considered a mental health issue. Only if it is persistent and lasts longer 3-6 months.

AMAZON

One tip to new parents to raise resilient, confident and healthy adults?

Encourage them every step of the way.

What else can people expect from this book?

To be informed in a simplistic way about working in the counseling field.

Are there any new projects underway?

A documentary about mental health.


Author of A Fat Girl’s Confidence Guide, published by My Story Publishing Company, also the founder of the “Confident Fat Girls Movement” Patrice Shavone Brown is a mother of two beautiful children. She is also the big sister of two siblings. Most of all she is “me.” She is a person that has had storms and mountains to climb. She is still climbing. Patrice lost her mom to cancer June 2017. She does not paint pretty pictures about her life or surroundings. Helping people is at the heart of everything that Patrice does. She has spent the last two decades serving her community as a Mental Health Counselor. Her greatest satisfaction comes from empowering others and assisting in people’s healing through the power of words. “It’s hard, yet life is what you make it. And it is full of twists and turns,” says Patrice. Patrice has owned and operated Restoring Bodies and Minds, restoringbodiesminds.org, for the past seven years. She’s an over achiever. She likes to excel, and she has tremendous drive and determination. If at first you don’t succeed, try again, is at her core. Brown has also authored four books. Her books are based on her everyday life experiences. The titles are Secrets Of A Crazy Mental Health Counselor, The Day Momma Made Me Dance, We Blend Well Together, A Fat Girl’s Confidence Guide, A Fat Girl’s Confidence: Beating Depression and Building Self Esteem, The Finesser and The Finesser 2.Patrice holds an MA, BA, and AAS. She is also an Anger Management Specialist and Creative Writing Expert.

Authors' Spotlight

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR ALEXIS SOLEIL | AUTHOR INTERVIEW

It is my pleasure to host author Alexis Soleil on an interview session on my blog today. Her family darma Irate: A Rocker’s Raging Romance is available for purchase now.

What made you pen down Irate?

I came up with the title IRATE because my main character, Ramiro was born on October 30th, which is Halloween Eve (Devil’s Night) which drove his father to give him severe punishments, beatings, and reading Bible verses. Also, his mother suffered abuse from the hands of her husband who blamed her for giving birth to Ramiro on the thirtieth of October along with his sister, Maritza. Ramiro built a lot of anger in him, where he expressed it in Heavy Metal. He learned to play bass guitar and wrote explicit song lyrics about taking his father out. Ramiro fell in love with Noelle, a house Songstress, where he promised he wouldn’t hurt. But, he did. He received counseling to fight his demons from his past. So, I saw that Ramiro was an angry musician playing this angry music. First, I came up with “PANDEMONIUM”. Then I said, “no”. I had to come up with something more captivating. Then “IRATE” was it.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

When I was in high school, I would tell people stories that I thought about. I never thought about becoming a writer until I got in my early twenties. I loved watching love stories where the characters were from two different worlds. Like Romeo and Juliet. I started screenwriting for over twenty-five years and the movie industry is difficult to break into. So, I took another route and decided to write novels.

Tell us a little about Ramiro and Noelle.

Ramiro and Noelle are the star-crossed lovers in this rocker tale. I guess you can call them star-crossed lovers because their love was going to fail if Ramiro didn’t face his problems.
Ramiro is a white Peruvian male, who wears lots of black clothing, he listens to death metal, thrash metal, and black metal rock due to his anger. His birthday is on devil’s night, he embraces it to the point where he lashes out at people and the ones he supposedly loves. Ramiro has a dark side to him. He likes dark, creepy, scary, and weird things. He even has two pet tarantulas. I don’t mean to give away too much information. And Ramiro doesn’t believe in God either.

Noelle is contrast to Ramiro. She’s an African-American female who loves to sing and can sing. Noelle has a beautiful voice that drew Ramiro to her. She comes from the House music genre which is dance music. She was born on Christmas day, loves life and God. She’s not overly religious but she believes in the higher power.

So, Ramiro’s darkness was attracted to Noelle’s light.

Are rock star romances your favourite genre to read as well?

Yes, I read “The Words” by Ashley Jade. It was really good. I’ll read anything type of love story that’s good regardless if it’s rockstar romance or interracial, contemporary or New Adult. As long as the book is good.

Are you a plotter or a panster?

I’m a panster because some of my stories come from my own personal experience. Irate is from my own personal experience. All I have to do is write it down and add a little imagination to it.

How long did it take you to write this novel?

Irate took me seven months to write because I just had surgery and had to stay home so I had plenty of time to write this piece. I wish I had more time to write. Do you know how much work I would get done?

Do you have a writing schedule?


I don’t have a writing schedule. I’m trying to fight that. I want to discipline myself to write on a schedule.

Are there any new projects underway?


Yes, I have about two or three projects. But, the first one is a family drama that I would like to promote. Then I have two dark romances that I want to work on.


Alexis Soleil is a former screenwriter who has written several screenplays which caused her to write novels instead. She prefers to write novels because it gives the writer more freedom with description, character development, and pacing. Whereas the screenwriter, they’re only limited to less one-hundred, twenty pages. Her first book “FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE TRACKS” was published in 2016 which is a modern-day Romeo and Juliet story. Alexis hopes to attract more readers to her works and continue writing.

Connect with Alexis on:

Instagram | Facebook

Authors' Spotlight

Interview with author Leah Erickson | Author Interview

It is my pleasure to host author Leah Erickson on my blog today. Her latest release, The Vesper Bell, is available for purchase now.

What made you pen down The Vesper Bell?

It was written during a time of personal change and upheaval. I, personally, was feeling not so much in control of things. I think this novel reflected that mindstate, as it was not as slow paced and tightly controlled as my previous novels. It was a dark comedy, written at a more rollicking pace, a bit more off the leash.

I was also moved to explore the theme of family roles and family dysfunction. There have been so many books that address this theme, from Brothers Karamazov, to JD Salinger and his works about the Glass Family, to We Have Always Lived in the Castle. It’s just such a rich vein for a writer to explore, and I’ve always been drawn to those types of books.

I, myself, come from kind of an unusual family. Usually a person finds their way in life after rebelling against a more conservative upbringing. My situation was kind of the inverse. The kids were very much pressured by the mom to be hipsters. If you were a boy, you could be a rockstar. If you were a girl, you could be a rockstar’s wife, etc. You were expected to go to the indie clubs, to be hip and cool and popular. If you were upwardly mobile, you were made fun of. That kind of stuff can end up being just as oppressive and comformist as any straight-laced, conventional upbringing. I was not cool, I couldn’t deliver the goods, so after a while pressure was kind of off me. I’m the “other sister” who many people who know my family don’t know about. Someone close to me said that my family role reminded them of the Phantom of the Opera, living in the shadows of the group, no one wanting to quite look at me. Anyway, I think that’s why I wrote this novel about a young woman who literally joins a convent in order to rebel. Because if you have a parent who tries to be cooler than you, and behaves as though they are younger than you, it is difficult to rebel and discover who you really are.

How did the title come to be?

Oh, I just really love the word Vesper. It means evening prayer, evening star. Eventide. I love that word, too! I had the nuns ringing the evening prayer bell in the book, so I was able to use it…

Tell us a little about the plot.

As I said before, it is about a young woman coming of age. Her name is Cosima. She lives with her mother, Brooke, a wayward socialite who is frequently feuding with her moneyed family. She also lives with her mother’s boyfriend, Eddie, an actor who had once starred in a franchise of vampire movies, and now makes a living on the horror con circuits. They live in a trailer on a half-developed, abandoned golf course that Brooke’s brother owns. This was supposed to have been temporary, but they ended up staying years due to a combination of chaos and inertia. This all changes when Brooke inherits a storm-ruined vacation house in St Aurea, an island that had once been a tony resort area for the rich, but never recovered from the last powerful hurricane that hit it. At first Brooke is insulted and incensed to be left the wrecked house in lieu of money. Then, in a burst of pique, she decides that not only will she keep it, but that the whole family will move INTO it, and that they will have a wonderful time, and write a blog…but nothing turn out quite the way they anticipated on the island.

PURCHASE

How have you grown as a writer from The Brambles to The Vesper Bells?

As I’ve said, I’m trying to be a bit looser. My stuff is usually very heavy, as in dense. It is meant to be read slowly. Because that’s the sort of stuff I always liked to read, things that are weighty and rich. But I hope that I’m becoming more versatile. That I can write more quickly things that can be read more quickly. Because that’s more how I read these days.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

No, I started out wanting to be an artist. But I discovered in my teens that my passion was more for words than drawing lines, and after getting my first story published I never went back.

Is your first published book your first completed work as well?

No. My books were published out of order. My first completed book was The Gilded Lynx, but it got held up. Issues with its first publisher, etc. So my first book was published AFTER my second and third.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I have hardly any spare time! I intend to spend more of it writing in the near future. My daughter is off at college most of the time. I guess lately I’ve been in a domestic, nesting stage. Feathering the nest I’ve made with my new husband.

Are there any new projects underway?

I’m planning to publish short stories for the next year or so. I’m letting ideas marinate in my head right now, feeling the build up. Sitting still like a coiled cobra until I’m ready to pounce!


Leah Erickson is the author of the novels “The Brambles,” (2017) “Blythe of the Gates,”(2018) “The Gilded Lynx,” (2019) and “The Vesper Bell.” (2022) She is the recipient of the 2018 Independent Press Award and the Independent Book Award, as well as a silver medal from the Reader’s Favorite Awards, and a Gold Medal from the 2019 Independent Publisher Book Awards. Her short fiction has appeared in many magazines and journals in print and online, including The Fabulist, Pantheon Magazine, The Saint Ann’s Review, Eclectica, The KGB Bar Literary Journal, The Coachella Review, and many more. She lives in Newport, Rhode Island with her husband and daughter.

Connect with Leah on:

Website | Instagram | Facebook

Authors' Spotlight

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR MIKE REYNOLDS | AUTHOR INTERVIEW

It is my pleasure to host author Mike Reynolds on my blog today. His book Darkness Dwells in Dixie is available for purchase now on Amazon.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

No, not always. Although I’m a voracious reader, and I thought on occasion that I might be able to tell a story better than some books I’ve read.

What made you pen down Darkness Dwells in Dixie?

I’ve always been a good storyteller and for years my family and friends have encouraged me to write a book using many of the story’s I’d told them over the years. My wife met a publisher that goes to the church we attend and convinced her to meet with me. After the meeting, and reading a sample of a story I wrote, the publisher signed me to write a book, that became Darkness Dwells In Dixie.

Tell us a little about the plot.

The book is set in a small town near Florida’s Apalachicola River swamp and the crystal-clear waters of the Florida Keys, during the 1950’s and 1960’s. Young Mickey Crow is determined to uncover the secrets his mother, Dixie Mae, and his family have long hidden. He relentlessly exposes the murky past of two families through three generations that are entangled by marriage, betrayal, and violence. As he begins to uncover the truth, he finds himself having to protect his little brother and mother from the brutal man who raised him, forcing Mickey to do something he believes God can never forgive.

AMAZON

Which author or book as impacted your writing?

Well, I love stories about the South. My favourite authors are Pat Conroy and John Grisham. Conroy’s books, The Great Santini and Prince of Tides, have influenced me greatly, as has all of Grisham’s books.

Your book is well reviewed by some established authors. How does it feel?

Well, honestly, to have authors I admire, like my work, is indescribable, especially for a first-time author like myself.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Spare time, what’s that? LOL. Well, I have 16 grandchildren and they keep my wife Annie and I quite busy! I also love the Blues and when I’m not writing or spending time with my family, I play guitar. Annie and I also love to travel and do so whenever we can get away.

Are there any new projects underway?

I’ve already begun the preliminary work on my second book, which will include many of the characters in DDD. I hope to have it completed and available to purchase by Christmas 2023. There is also a third book I hope to completer in 2024.

Mike Reynolds writes fictionally about what he knows, where he’s lived, and what he’s experienced with an ease that comes with familiarity. Born in the small town of Bainbridge, Georgia—which is just over the Florida Panhandle line where Georgia and Florida come together—and raised in Florida, Mike’s blue collar upbringing exposed him to a lot of hard-working honest people, but also to the seedier side of life there. He grew up in a violent and abusive home, and one in which alcoholism played a major role in day-to-day life. But Mike was able to break free of the abusive cycle and become a successful business owner and entrepreneur.

As the child of an Air Force flight instructor, Mike’s family moved around a lot, creating even more fodder for his stories. He served in the Navy for six years, married young and had three daughters, but the marriage ended in divorce. Later, marrying a woman with three sons, Mike’s family kept him busy.

Mike worked in the mortgage industry for 40 years, eventually opening his own mortgage company, which he ran for 10 years and employed scores of people. He finds it humorous that it was in his position in that company where his talent for writing was honed. He had always been a good storyteller—people invited him to dinner parties because they wanted to hear his stories—but writing daily to weekly inspirational memos to his many employees garnered a lot of positive response. This added to his confidence. Mike retired in 2016 and began writing in earnest.

Now enjoying retirement, when Mike’s not writing, he’s spending time with his six kids and sixteen grandchildren. Having been in a Christian rock band for many years, he still plays guitar and is teaching himself to play the blues. He and his beloved Annette enjoy their many friends in the beautiful hamlet of Glendora, California.

Find Mike on:

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube

Authors' Spotlight

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR ALMA MICHELSON | AUTHOR INTERVIEW

It is my pleasure to host author Alma Michelson on my blog today. Her children’s book, Lily and the Golden Frog, is available for purchase now.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

My interest in writing came at an early age. As a seven-year-old living in Serbia, I entered poetry contests in national children’s journals. When my first poem got published, I remember taking such pride in my work. It was a feeling of accomplishment I wanted to experience again. My next opportunity didn’t come until after our move across the ocean, from Serbia to the United States of America. Knowing only 10 words of the English language at age 11, my creative writing journey was off to a rough start. It was tough writing storylines in a language you’re just learning. I started small and wrote poems. Again, I entered one of these poems into a magazine contest I found, and it got published. This time my excitement and pride weren’t any greater than at age seven. I didn’t feel like I accomplished anything new, so I focused my studies on other areas.

I went on to pharmacy school and became a working mom to four wonderful children. Being a mom and reading bedtime stories was my new accomplishment. It was during one of these nights while reading children’s books that I realized I didn’t have to write a big, giant chapter book to check off my bucket list item. I can write a Children’s Book that brings me joy and brings my kids joy. Looking at it from this angle, made the bucket list item easy to check off. I had all the motivation to research how to self-publish, how to obtain a copyright, how to get an ISBN, and where to start.

What made you pen down Lily and the Golden Frog?

I initially started jotting down ideas for Lily and The Golden Frog in my Notes app on my phone in the Winter of 2018. I did this late at night between late-night feedings with my secondborn, Lilyanna. As a newer parent, I wanted my daughter to have a book that didn’t shy away from all things feminine. I wanted pink and shiny to be powerful, and cool. And I wanted magical accessories to be feminine and never have to be used as objects of violence to prove powerful. Didn’t want anything like Wonder Woman’s tiara that becomes a projectile. I was picturing soft, fluffy bows and purses with awesome powers we can’t see right away but come to realize. And so, Lily and the Golden Frog started with the idea of a magical shiny, pink purse.

Tell us a little about Lily and the Golden Frog. What message do you want to impart through Lily and the Golden Frog?

Lily and the Golden Frog is a story of a young girl who wishes to see the world. She takes her shiny pink purse and sets out on the adventure of her life. Along the way, she meets several interesting characters and discovers the importance of giving back thanks to the strange power of her shiny pink purse. This was a very important lesson I wanted to share through this story. The idea is that it’s never too early to teach our kids to start thinking about others and get them excited about and eager about volunteer work and giving back to the community.

What do you enjoy the most about writing for children?

Children are so imaginative, dynamic, and constantly learning, questioning, and exploring and the stories for them need to reflect this. It was a delight to write a children’s story.

Why do you think it is important for children to read from a young age?

We’ve read bedtime stories to all four of our kids from the first year of age because it’s so important to have that bond with parents and for kids to have that intimate relationship with books. They learn language, patience, sight words, ideas, colors, themes, and life-lessons, so many good things come from reading books.

How do you think we can raise lifelong readers?

Start early and keep going. Let your kids be part of the process. Let them pick out the books they want to read. Don’t give them rules for how to pick. If they want to bring back a book that’s way too big for their backpack and has way too many words, get it. Whatever excites them about reading, support it.

Are there any new projects underway?

There are ideas for other book titles, but nothing concrete yet. Check back with us again towards the end of 2024.

Alma Michelson is a community pharmacist, a published author, and a busy mom of four who is devoted to giving her readers children’s content that is enriching, meaningful, and heartfelt. Her first Children’s Book, Lily and the Golden Frog was released Thanksgiving Day 2022 and was inspired by her childhood in the rolling countryside of Croatia, and her mother’s kind and gentle giving spirit. As an author and publisher, Alma Michelson strives to spark a desire of giving back to the community at a young age in every child’s heart. She urges her readers to become active supporters of local children’s organizations and UNICEF. She loves to hear from her readers. Visit her website at http://www.LilyandTheGoldenFrog.com.

Connect with Alma on:

Website | Instagram | Facebook

Authors' Spotlight

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR G. M. SAVAGE| AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Today it is my pleasure to host author G. M. Savage on my blog. His debut novel Jack Mathias and the Boonetown Bandits is available for purchase now.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

I didn’t know I wanted to be a writer consciously, but it would spontaneously happen. I’d be reading a story and become somewhat upset by the turn of events in the plot. I’d be like, “Why would they do that? This would’ve been so much better if etc.”

What made you pen down Jack Mathias and the Boonetown Bandits?

I think it was a longing to write the story that I always wanted to read. There were many stories I grew up loving, like; Hatchet, Maniac McGee, My Side of the Mountain, and Where the Red Fern Grows, but I wanted to take all of the things I loved about those stories and somehow roll them into one.

Tell us a little about the plot and themes the story deals with.

The plot is straightforward. It’s your classic adventure story quest. It was something that I struggled with at first since there’s that part of my brain that feels I need to make things overly complex. But in time, I just said yes to the simplistic nature of the story. On the surface, it’s super simple and fun, but there’s also a deeper metaphorical layer to the story that some may pick up on.

The theme is all about finding oneself and innocence. Growing together and realizing that the moment holds what we’re searching for.

What are your favorite genres to read?

Without a doubt, it has to be Middle-Grade. I love the innocence and how the world still feels new and exciting.

How long did it take you to write Jack Mathias and the Boonetown Bandits?

It took about three months to write the first draft but about two years to edit and get things how I wanted them. The easiest part of writing for me is the first draft. Drafts 2, 3, 4, etc..… are what I feel is the difference between just a good idea and good/great story.

Did you have a writing schedule?

I don’t have a schedule. I write when I get the urge or the impulse.

I will say that the wintertime seems to be when I’m most apt to write for hours on end. But with that being said, I do write all year long.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

My favorite things to do are nature based. Hiking, mountain biking, fishing and snowboarding are all things that I enjoy.

Are there any new projects underway?

I am currently working on the sequel to Jack Mathias and the Boonetown Bandits. I also have a kid’s picture book in the works.


G.M. Savage is inspired by nature, and his writing is no different. He enjoyed classics like Where the Red Fern Grows and Hatchet growing up but didn’t know he wanted to become a writer until reading A River Runs Through It in college. Mr. Savage loves writing fun adventure stories set in picturesque landscapes. He encourages young readers to go on an outdoor adventure, even if it’s only to the backyard.

When he’s not writing, G.M. Savage enjoys spending time with family and friends. He also enjoys fly-fishing, hiking, and mountain biking in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.

Connect with G. M. Savage on:

Website | Instagram